So, then, Tuesday was chock full o’ tech announcements, but all eyes were on one. Sure, Nokia was in Abu Dhabi unveiling a Windows RT tablet and two massive 6-inch Windows Phones, and the addition of Instagram, Flipboard, and Vine apps for Windows Phone, and RAW support for the Lumia 1020 and 1520 models. Microsoft was busy shipping Surface 2. But as always, for better or worse, it’s all about Apple, which is why the attention was cast towards San Francisco. (For me, it’s personal: My MacBook Pro died over the weekend, so the revamped version can’t be released fast enough for me. Literally so.)
And after the usual long buildup with Tim Cook congratulating his own company for how wonderful it is and taking shots at the competition for “trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs,” here’s what we got:
New iPad: iPad Air! This is not a joke. Thinner, lighter, more powerful. 9.7 inch Retina, 43% thinner bezel, 20% thinner. One pound, the lightest full-sized tablet. A7 chip and M7 motion coprocessor, 64-bit, like the iPhone 5s. Twice as fast. MIMO, expanded LTE support, 5MP iSight, 1080p HD video, dual mics, 10 hours’ battery life, silver, white, gray, and black (no gold?), starts at $499. Oddly, the iPad 2 remains available at $399 (really? $399 for the 2?). Air shipping November 1st to many countries, including China, the first time they get it on launch day.
New iPad Mini: Retina, Retina, Retina, same resolution (2048×1536) as the Air. Retina! Finally. A7 chip, 64-bit, MIMO, 5MP camera, 10 hours battery life, so it’s no longer the iPad 2 in a smaller package. Also silver, white, gray, and black – you expcted more colors, didn’t you? $399, available later in November. And the old version remains available at $299.
New iPad Covers: Yeah, whatever. $39, in a buncha colors, leather for $79. Both have Project (RED) versions.
New MacBook Pros: 13-inch Retina, lighter at 3.46 pounds, thinner, too. Dual-core i5 Haswell, faster graphics, up to 9 hours battery life. $1,299 base, shipping today – cheaper by $200 than before. 15-inch has quad-core Crystalwell chip, 8 hours battery life, Iris Pro graphics (discrete graphics available) – also cheaper by $200 at $1,999. Ships today, too.
New Mac Pro: About time. Xeon E5, Quad, 6, 8, or 12 core, 1866 MHz DDR3 memory, AMD FirePro dual-workstation graphics, all flash storage up to 1TB. Can use up to three 4K displays, uses HDMI 4.1. Ports galore. It’s that little cylindrical thing that was seen at WWDC. Starts at $2,999. (If you’re looking at a Pro, you’re probably gonna spend a lit more.) Available “before the end of the year,” as if you haven’t waited long enough.
OS X Mavericks: Well, we knew this one, too. We’ve known that it was coming; we knew they’d sell it on the basis of better battery life and memory management. The details: “Compressed memory” to squeeze more data into memory. Improved integrated graphics, changing how the OS handles graphics memory and bringing Open CL into it. Enhanced notifications, shared links, tags, better multiple display implementation. Maps and iBooks apps for the desktop. Biggest news: Mavericks is a free upgrade for everyone, in a single-step update from any previous version, available now.
Apps: New versions of iLife’s iMovie, iPhoto, and Garageband. Ipad version of iPhoto can do Photobooks now. iMovie has iCloud feature to let you watch your movies on all your devices and Apple TV, too. Garageband on iOS goes from 8 to 16 tracks, and there’s a new drum track feature (the sample “drummer” they demoed is named Kyle). All free with purchase of any new Mac or iOS device, available today. iWork apps revamped – full file compatibility across devices, new UI, collaboration in iCloud versions, also free with purchase of Mac or iOS devices. All available today. 20 apps being updated today.
Okay, then, Apple fans, are you in? I have to be, because of that dead MBP sitting on my desk at the moment. How about you? Comment below, and, yeah, I know, you don’t care Apple sucks Android blah blah. Be constructive.